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Raging Bull
Drama, Biography, Sport
IMDB rating:
Martin Scorsese
Robert De Niro as Jake La Motta
Cathy Moriarty as Vickie La Motta
Joe Pesci as Joey
Frank Vincent as Salvy
Nicholas Colasanto as Tommy Como
Theresa Saldana as Lenore
Mario Gallo as Mario
Frank Adonis as Patsy
Joseph Bono as Guido
Frank Topham as Toppy
Charles Scorsese as Charlie - Man with Como
Don Dunphy as Himself - Radio Announcer for Dauthuille Fight
Bill Hanrahan as Eddie Eagan
Storyline: When Jake LaMotta steps into a boxing ring and obliterates his opponent, he's a prizefighter. But when he treats his family and friends the same way, he's a ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any moment. Though LaMotta wants his family's love, something always seems to come between them. Perhaps it's his violent bouts of paranoia and jealousy. This kind of rage helped make him a champ, but in real life, he winds up in the ring alone.
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A Scorsese Film About A Lot More Than Just Boxing
I'm no boxing fan so I can't honestly say that I was dying to see this movie until I learned that Scorsese himself is not a boxing fan but he wanted to tell this story so this intrigued me even more and after always hearing about the massive praise for Robert De Niro performance I have to say I was very impressed. I'm gonna start out by saying the cliché thing when talking about this movie, Robert De Niro is absolutely incredible in this film it's in my opinion the greatest performance he's ever given, through De Niros performance when see La Motta gradually becoming his title of being a "Raging Bull" and was a truly terrifying presence. The boxing scenes in this film are so real, Scorsese did such a good job directed this film he put you right in their to the point where you could feel the power of every punch and move made. Joe Pesci was so fantastic in this film he seemed like a real scumbag but was never over the top at his chemistry with De Niro was completely on point. La Mottas character arc was handled perfectly, you understood just how much of his humanity he was losing both physically and mentally to the point where you actually start to pity him while still fearing him at certain points. Now one of the most common things to find in a Scorsese film is a female love interest that comes to hate the protagonist and this film has this but works for this film as it added to character arc of La Motta and gave room for Cathy Moriarty to give such a great and damaged performance in this film. However if I am completely honest I don't quite like this film as much as everyone else does, I do have one of two minor issues with this film for one, I didn't think making this film Black and White really added anything to this film and at times was just distracting and I think that the portion of the film that focuses LaMottas success in the ring is to short, the film montages over his major successes and does subtract some What from the intensity of the final fight. However I do think that the last act of this film was very effective as it got away from the boxing and focused on the characters aftermath of his time in the ring and we go from despising LaMotta to as I said sympathising with him and I truly thought that De Niro pulled it of perfectly.

Raging Bull is a fantastic film, I don't quite think it's a masterpiece but it's got an incredible Robert De Niro performance, really intense and personal boxing matches and a perfect way of giving insight into its title character and giving him a complexity that makes him a better character.

One of the Greatest films, and a true story!
Raging Bull is the definitive art film. It is also hauntingly poetic. It really isn't a movie about boxing as much as about a man with psychological and sexual complexities that he takes out on in the ring. It is a case study on the male masculinity. The only other picture that comes close to this one in terms of male masculinity is maybe Othello. But even that is pushing it! This is one of the few pictures that ever made me cry because many of those emotions of fear, anger, frustration, and rage I feel all the time and can relate to the material. I agree it is the best film of the 1980's and is included in my top 10 favorite films of all time. Kudos to De Niro and Pesci who work together as a great team. This movie is way better than Rocky because it is deeper and more complex. A Great job well done!
One Of The Greatest Films Ever Made. An Excellent,Powerful And Unforgettable Masterpiece From Martin Scorsese And Robert De Niro
Raging Bull is one of the greatest films ever made,an excellent,powerful and unforgettable Masterpiece of cinema that combines amazing direction,powerful acting,beautiful music and stunning photography. All of those elements make Raging Bull Martin Scorsese,Robert De Niro and Film making at their best.

Based on the book of the same name and set from the 1940s to the 1960s,Raging Bull tells the true story of Jake LaMotta(Robert De Niro),a middleweight Boxer who is successful and rising to the top in the Boxing ring and wants to become the middleweight champion of the world. While Jake is doing well in the ring his personal life and troubled relationships with his wife Vicki(Cathy Moriarty)and brother Joey(Joe Pesci)lead to Jake's rise and fall in and out of the ring.

Released in 1980,Raging Bull despite being a modest Box Office success and receiving eight Academy Award nominations and winning two for best actor(Robert De Niro)and Best editing(Thelma Shoonmaker)received mixed reviews from critics because the violence and language and lost the Oscars for Best Picture and Director to Robert Redford's Ordinary People which is a fine film in it's own right. But overtime Raging Bull is now seen as a masterpiece and not only one of the greatest films ever made but also the greatest film of the 1980s. Right from it's terrific opening credits and first scene,Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull is a brilliant and powerful masterpiece on so many levels from the acting,direction and everything else is one the main reasons I love cinema so much. The movie is a great combination biopic,sports drama and art film giving viewers a movie that is both beautiful and ugly as well as brutal and harsh at the same time. Raging Bull was one of the last if not the last great film that came from the New Hollywood era that lasted from the late 60s into the 1970s even though the movie was released in 1980. The Black and White photography by Michael Chapman is fantastic,visually stunning and truly adds to the film giving the movie an accurate and stylish look to the 1940s and 50s as well the scenes inside and out of the Boxing ring. Chapman also uses smoke and lighting to great effect not giving the movie an incredible atmosphere but reflecting the characters state of mind. What also makes Raging Bull an outstanding film is the editing by Scorsese veteran Thelma Schoonmaker. The editing by Schoonmaker is sensational because we get freeze frames,fast cuts which give the movie a great pace and quickness that was ahead of it's time and holds up years later. The Boxing scenes in Raging Bull are thrilling,amazing and some of the bloodiest and most graphic Boxing scenes ever caught on film and directed with terrific skill,detail with Actions and sound effects and when every punch is thrown you not only hear the punches you feel them as well and there is devastating impact with each of the fight scenes. What I also love about each of the Boxing scenes is that all of them have a different tone and style with Scorsese mixing realism and exaggeration. The violence in Raging Bull is shocking and at times horrific and will disturb viewers but the violence fits with the movie's tone and spirit. Although the movie has Boxing the movie is more about the man Jake LaMotta than his profession. The portrayal of Jake LaMotta will obviously divide viewers when they watch the film because on one hand we feel sorry for Jake and some of the things he has to endure but on the other hand viewers will dislike Jake because of his abuse to his wife and self-destructive ways bringing his brutality outside of the ring. We also see Jake brought down by his own insecurities and paranoia which makes his rise and fall much more tragic. One of the reasons Raging Bull is amazing because it's not really a Boxing but more of a character study. The ending of Raging Bull is amazing and memorable because it gives Jake LaMotta a new beginning that is optimistic and positive. Will you feel differently about Jake LaMotta at the end? The movie greatly asks viewers that question and makes viewers answer the question themselves. A terrific and unforgettable ending.

The cast is amazing. Robert De Niro is excellent in one of finest acting performances in film history and gives his greatest performance as Jake LaMotta,with De Niro bringing emotion,intensity and anger to his Oscar winning role role. Cathy Moriarty is terrific,beautiful and sexy and Vicki LaMotta,Jake's second wife and holds her own against De Niro and Pesci. Joe Pesci is brilliant and fiery as Joey LaMotta,Jake's younger brother and has great scenes with De Niro. Frank Vincent is wonderful as Salvy,Joey's friend. Nicolas Colasanto is outstanding as Tommy Como,a Mob Boss that wants to help Jake. Mario Gallo(Mario),Theresa Saldana(Lenore)and Lori Anne Flax(Irma)give good performances as well.

The direction by Martin Scorsese is brilliant,powerful and some of best directing in movie history,with Scorsese using zooms,wide,high and low angle shots,a great tracking shot,close ups and use of slow motion while doing an amazing with the Boxing scenes. Outstanding direction,Scorsese.

The classic music by Pietro Mascagni is beautiful,mesmerizing and memorable and fits with the images and tone of the movie. Great music.

In final word,if you love Martin Scorsese,Robert De Niro or movies in general,I highly suggest you see Raging Bull,an excellent,brilliant and unforgettable masterpiece of cinema that deserves to be in every movie lover's collection. Highly Recommended. 10/10.
Originally Going To Be Scorsese's Last Picture, This Character Study Of An All Too Real Boxer Is Phenomenal.
"Though I'm no Olivier, I would much rather... And though I'm no Olivier, If he fought Sugar Ray, He would say, That the thing ain't the ring, it's the play. So give me a... stage, Where this bull here can rage, And though I could fight, I'd much rather recite... that's entertainment."

One of the most famous soliloquies, and definitely one of the more memorable in Cinema. "Raging Bull" is a sports film like no other. No rise to the challenge, no bull training montages just pure brutal honesty. Where would I even begin to review a movie so commended?

Short answer, Robert De Niro's performance is stunning. A man so dedicated to his craft, he trained extensively under the managing of the real Jake LaMotta. LaMotta claimed De Niro could have gone pro, then Robert began a gruelling month eating fine French cuisine to gain the 60 pounds needed to portray Jake's later years. Regardless if he won the Oscar or not (Which he did), "Raging Bull" will always stand as a testament to De Niro's passion as a performer. Finally, Cathy Moriarty as Jake's long suffering wife and Joe Pesci's mainstream debut are wonderful. The duo that is Pesci & De Niro are so good on screen line after line, insult over better insult. How can you go wrong when your own brother asks you to "F**king lay me out". Many themes are covered, brutal scenes of violence are depicted and even greater emotions come from some of cinema's most raw characters ever screened.

All thanks to Martin Scorsese, who De Niro had managed to help him get off a cocaine addiction and pursue the project. His films are always pushing the very edge of movie ratings but regardless of what anyone says, to censor any artists work could possibly hinder almost every chance of the mediums growth. Scorsese's camera work and mannerisms continue to hold up even today, further solidifying my belief as the West's 2nd best director (Number 1 goes to Kubrick).

Final Verdict: The best movie to ever be made about boxing that isn't a documentary. 10/10.
An Oddly Rousing Chronicle of the 'Bronx-Bull'!
Unequivocally unsentimental in every respect, Raging Bull offers a searing character study of boxer Jake La Motta (known as the Raging Bull). Despite being the story of a middle-weight boxer, the movie refuses to be pigeonholed as merely a 'boxing' movie. It reigns as poesy of spectacle and presents a disconcerting vision of a beastly character, who dished out savagery in the ring and also at home, yet rose in his day to be idolized to a certain extent by our pop culture.

Robert De Niro stars as Jake LaMotta, the Bronx-based boxer whose public bouts and private demons Raging Bull chronicles with bruising acuity, without judgment or sympathy. It delves even deeper into the psyche, exploring the destructive life in whimsical detail. Taking us through the highlight reel of LaMotta's life from the early 1940s through the mid-1960s, the film details how the Bronx bruiser boxed his way to professional stardom then lost everything to debilitating paranoia only to find his life in shambles, eventually descending into self-loathing and loneliness. It is a mesmerizing exploration of the mind of an emotionally disconnected man; as likely to crush those he loved as much as his opposition in the ring. It's impossible to resist following such a talented born loser on his inevitable trip into oblivion, though it's not fun. Watching his downfall from champion to pitiful stand-up comedian and club owner is no more enjoyable than it sounds, yet it is immensely rewarding.

One of the triumphs of Martin Scorsese's direction comes from how fascinating Jake remains despite his conspicuous inner rage and crippling sense of sexual insecurity. These inner struggles dovetail with La Motta's performance in the ring, and the film's artful, seemingly improvisatory construction serves to juxtapose these two worlds: the intimate, naturalistic domestic world and the smoky, expressionistic world of the boxing ring. The most obvious basis for the film's claim to greatness lies in Scorsese's devastating critique of the basic codes of masculinity and finally in Robert De Niro's performance, through which that critique is made flesh. De Niro's colossal act (astounding not in the least for his now famous weight gain) firmly holds the film together, virtually hypnotizing the viewer with intensity, pathos, and even innocence. The true power of De Niro's performance rests in his ability to crawl his way into this lug's twisted psyche and air out his personal demons for all to see.

It will be impossible to look away from your screens, much like a real boxing match. And for that, Raging Bull remains a profoundly treasured experience: bold and bloody, yet oddly stirring. What eventually pours out on the screen is pure cinema, and pure Scorsese!
Raging Bull is simply great.
I went to the movie store, bought Raging Bull, quickly drove home, put Raging Bull in the DVD player, and then sat on the couch. The boxing bell loudly rung right after I pressed play, and I felt as if I was the one in the ring getting ready for the fight since I was so nervous about being disappointed after seeing this film since my expectations were so high. I can give you one word that I said after I saw this film, 'Wow'. Raging Bull exceeded my expectations.

Raging Bull isn't a movie about boxing. It's about Jake LaMotta's (Robert De Niro) life outside of the boxing ring. It's about frustration, rage, jealousy, deterioration, family, self confidence, etc. We see how Jake deals with all of his problems outside of the ring. We see all of the regretful choices that he makes that end up coming back to haunt him. We see how he had everything when he was on top, but then is soon left with nothing, nothing worth living for. We see the rise and fall of Jake LaMotta's life.

Martin Scorsese does an amazing job with Raging Bull. He creates a masterpiece with an adaptation and representation of Jake LaMotta's life. Yes folks, for those who didn't know, this movie was based on a true story. His directional take on this film is near perfect, and he is one of the big reasons why Raging Bull works almost perfectly.

The acting in this film is excellent. Robert De Niro is spectacular, his representation of Jake LaMotta is near perfect. He deserved the Oscar that he received for his role in this film. Joe Pesci also turns in a great performance as Jake LaMotta's brother (Joey LaMotta) and also deserved the Oscar he was nominated for. Cathy Moriarty does a great job as the battered wife of Jake LaMotta, her delivery of lines and expressions made me believe that she was the wife of Jake LaMotta. The rest of the cast does an overall good job, they play their part like they should, and they all do it well.

Overall, Raging Bull is a must see film for all of the movie lovers out there. Even if you don't love movies, you should go out and pick up this film as soon as possible. I actually liked that this movie was in black and white, I honestly think that it makes it work better. I had my doubts about the black and white colouring when I picked it up, but I now actually prefer and liked that they shot it in black and white. I can see how people believe that the ending dragged on a bit, and I can agree with that to a point, but I believe they needed to show those scenes since that's actually how it all played out in LaMotta's life. Raging Bull works on all cylinders, from the film editing to the cinematography, it's just truly great all around.

Some technical aspects of this cinematic masterpiece
The first surprising thing about Raging Bull as a film is its black and white photography, with the only colour footage being the short home video sequence of La Motta's wedding. Originally, the decision to shoot the film in black and white was based specifically on cinematographer Michael Chapman and Martin Scorsese's memories of 1940's boxing bouts, which they remembered as black and white flash photos in magazines. People's memories of Jake La Motta's fights would have been black and white ones and therefore it seemed right to shoot in black and white, even though at first they had fears this would be seen as too pretentious. The particular visual intensity of the fight scenes, however, was partly due to financial difficulties rather than directorial choices. In an attempt to keep the picture on schedule, two separate lighting styles had to be adopted. Jake's life outside the ring would be kept as simple as possible, and this meant that the scenes in the ring could be concentrated on more. They would be shot entirely in the Los Angeles studio and would be highly stylised. This is how the dazzling visual nature of the fight scenes was allowed to come about. Scorsese, suffering from a low point in his career, was convinced this film would be his last and wanted to go out with a bang. Hence he decided to give the fighting scenes all he could, since he had nothing to lose anymore.

What Scorsese disliked about the previous boxing films he had seen was the way the fights were shown from ringside, adopting a spectator's view, which protected the audience from the brutality inside the ring. For Raging Bull, Scorsese was determined to get as close as possible to the raw violence of the fights. He would film inside the ring and make the audience feel every punch. His plan was to shoot the fight scenes as if the viewers were the fighter, and their impressions were the fighter's, and never to insulate the audience from the violence in the ring. The viewers would think, feel, see and hear everything the boxers would. Aside from the opening fight, La Motta's first professional defeat against Jimmy Reeves, there would be no cuts to the baying of the crowd. For the Reeves fight Scorsese chose to include some chaotic backlash from the crowd showing their disapproval of the judge's decision, but apart from this scene, Scorsese's mantra throughout the film was 'Stay in the ring'. Each intricately choreographed fight would have a different style in order to reflect La Motta's different states of mind at the time of the fights.

Jake La Motta was consultant for the film, and the fights were depicted as he remembered them. For example, in his second fight against Sugar Ray Robinson, the ring is wide and brightened by the radiant white of the canvas making the scene feel free and open, and a relatively comfortable atmosphere. This is because La Motta won this fight, a great victory against his great rival. In contrast to this, the ring in his next fight against Robinson, which he lost on a controversial decision, was designed by Scorsese as a 'pit of hell'. In the opening shot of this fight, Scorsese has made everything look unclear and indistinguishable. This time, the ring is very dark and smoky which increases the blurred, unfocused feel of the fight. Often during this fight, faces are out of frame. For example when the two men are boxing La Motta's face is often blurred out by smoke or hidden by his opponent's body. This is seen once again when he is in his corner for the break in between the rounds; the shot has his face completely covered by one of the ropes of the ring. This was how La Motta himself remembered it; these events will remain unclear in his mind since he could not work out why he had lost. This sequence depicts a particularly upsetting part of La Motta's memories, and perfectly illustrates how he was feeling at the moment of the fight.

Just as important as the look of the film was the sound. As with the cinematography, two different styles were adopted to differentiate between La Motta's life in and out of the ring. The fight scenes were recorded in Dolby Stereo with heightened, often animalistic sound effects and a striking use of silence. This contrast with the dialogue in the film, which was recorded normally, was used to emphasise La Motta's heightened sense of awareness in the ring. The most memorable use of sound in the film, in particular the use of silence, is in La Motta's fourth fight against his great rival Sugar Ray Robinson. The rounds are punctuated by eery silence, giving an impression of slow motion and evoking the idea of what would be running through the boxers' heads. Just as memorable was the decision to use an animal's breathing for Robinson's final attack on La Motta. Everything is standing still, there is a striking silence throughout and all that can be heard is the bestial breathing building the suspense, as if Robinson was a lion about to strike on its prey. The next sequence is an extremely fast montage of cuts showing La Motta being badly beaten by Robinson. This scene moves between Robinson and La Motta at a rapid pace to suit the lightning fast boxing of which La Motta is on the receiving hand. This was carefully planned out and storyboarded beforehand by Scorsese and then skilfully brought to life by editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who won an Oscar for her work.
Jake La Motta's toughest fights were with his demons outside of the ring.
Raging Bull is about middle weight boxer Jake LaMotta, played by Robert De Niro, and his life inside and outside of the boxing ring. As Jake rises through the ranks in the early 1940s, we see that his confidence in the ring is quite the reverse outside. He struggles with insecurity and jealousy which fills him with rage and guilt, and trusts no one but himself. This serves as the central theme throughout the film. Similar to what Russell Crowes' character John Nash experiences in A Beautiful Mind; the uncontrollable jealousy and insecurity are diseases almost as powerful as schizophrenia.

For a while he is able to control his jealous rage by taking out his aggressions on his opponents, even prolonging one fight so he could do more damage to the face of a boxer that his wife Vickie, played by Cathy Moriarty, mentioned was good looking. To a lesser extent, Jake also uses the ring to pay penance, sometimes allowing an opponent to punish him in an attempt to relieve his guilt. The use of slow-motion, silence, and increasing sound and speed give us a firsthand look at what Jake is experiencing during these fight scenes; the rage and lack of control, and the feeling of defeat and despair.

Desperately wanting a title, Jake is convinced by his brother Joey, played by Joe Pesci, that the only way to get the title fight is to through a fight so the mob can make money from him; then they will set up the title fight. After agreeing and throwing the fight, Jake, already distraught by his decision, is suspended by the boxing commission. Thus begins his steady downward spiral. He begins gaining weight and does nothing to keep himself in shape. No longer able to release his pent up anger in the ring, he begins beating his wife and accusing her of sleeping with multiple people, including his own brother. When she can no longer take his aggressive behavior, she screams back that she has been with everyone he has mentioned and more. He loses complete control and attacks her and his brother.

As Jake's relationship with his brother comes to an end, he retires from boxing to spend more time with his family. This has not done much to mend relations with his wife, we see that it appears to be nothing more than wishful thinking as he orders his family around so the press can take pictures of them, posing as the 'happy family'. Growing bored in retirement, Jake opens a nightclub where he spends more and more time, pursuing his next greatest love, entertaining. One morning, after Jake has spent the night at the club, he comes out to find his wife waiting for him in the parking lot. She informs him that she is leaving him and has already gotten a lawyer and everything is already in motion.

Jake's descent continues when he arrested for serving underage girls in his club, and for 'introducing them to other men'. While out on bail, Jake learns that if he can come up with $10,000 to bribe the judge and prosecutor, he will not have to serve time in jail. The only chance he has of raising that much money is to sell his championship belt. Unable to part with the belt, he pries the jewels out of it and attempts to sell them, but it is not enough. While in jail he has a breakdown, questioning why this has happened to him, and eventually coming to terms with it. In his scene there is a wonderful use of partial lighting showing the conflict and contrast Jake struggles with.

After being released from jail, Jake resumes his stand-up/philosopher act, and moves on with his life. While leaving a performance one night, he sees his brother Joey and awkwardly attempts to reconcile, but the feelings do not appear to be returned. He asks his brother several times to forgive and forget, but never apologizes; still to insecure to admit he has a problem and that he was wrong.
Possibly the best American picture made to date!
If you have not yet seen this picture, or are considering... Watch this film! Just another Of Martin Scorsese's masterpieces, the film has a perfect balance of truthful acting, dramatic circumstances and beautiful film making, a film you can appreciate on many levels. Not to mention Robert De Niro's Oscar winning performance (Without a question too). Every second he is on screen is visceral, also the relationship with Joe Pesci is one of pre-21st century's best partnership. The cinematography is notable and stunning especially during the actual boxing scenes, with an unforgettable opening! Love this film, director and lead man! 10 out of 10!
Watch and feel the pain.
Raging Bull is much more than another boxing film. Robert De Niro, starring as Jake La Motta, battles life inside and outside of the ring. His desire to be the middleweight champion and his self-destructive behavior prove to be the perfect storm. While his brother Joey, played by Joe Pesci, and wife Vickie, played by Cathy Moriarty try desperately to keep Jake La Motta on the straight and narrow, he is determined to allow his paranoia and temper ruin his life.

The theme of Raging Bull is much more than the story of a fighter but rather the conflicts this boxer battles in and out of the ring. While he is ultimately successful in winning the belt, he loses his wife, children, brother and even his freedom post-retirement in Miami. The same man, who beat Sugar Ray Robinson and many other top boxers, couldn't beat his internal rage. After losing everything and everyone, La Motta ends up alone, in his nightclub, mocked by his own audience.

La Motta's temper is revealed with his first wife when she couldn't cook his steak properly. He explodes in violence causing time with the first wife to begin to count down. Brother Joey seems to be hooked up with some gangster types, and Jake reveals his desire to remain independent. He yells at Joey telling him not to bring the mob down near the gym again. The mobsters represented by Tommy Como, played by Nicholas Colasanto, and Salvy,played by Frank Vincent try desperately to bring La Motta into their organization.

Joey shows his loyalty to his brother Jake, when Joey observes Tommy spending time with Jake's second wife, Vickie. Joey breaks up a Tommy Como party and beats up Salvy. While Tommy makes Salvy and Joey shake hands and make up, Jake remains an independent man. Finally, La Motta wins the middleweight championship belt. As he ages, he defends the belt successfully until his selfishness, jealousy and temper watch him give up the belt to Sugar Ray.

Boxing was good for La Motta who in retirement brags of his beautiful wife, three children and beautiful home in Miami. However, he isn't done yet. His battles outside the ring continue as he opens his nightclub. His drinking,smoking and otherwise poor lifestyle finds him in jail for committing statutory rape with a fourteen year old girl.

Director Martin Scorsese has another winner in this 1980 sports biography. Scorsese has partnered with De Niro before in award winning Goodfellows, Taxi Driver and Casino. We see other characters such as Joe Pesci and Frank Vincent add to the award winning casts.

Watch and feel the pain as Cinematographer Michael Chapman zooms in on the faces of the boxers as wounds are created and the bodily fluids fly across the ropes and into the crowd. Chapman does a great job of showing conflict in the ring. Then the conflict continues as La Motta slams the door at the end of the skinny, long hallway after yet another fight with his wife.

The fights in the ring will keep you on the edge of your seat; however it is the fights outside the ring which will keep you guessing as to the outcome of this great fighter.
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